Parker throwers Jacobson, Steinke return to state

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Eric Schmoldt
Sunday, June 1, 2014

JANESVILLE--On a typical weekend, you might find Janesville Parker throwers Paul Jacobson and T.J. Steinke hanging out on the Jacobson homestead west of Janesville.

If the weather is nice, they’ll be practicing shot put or discus or may take a break to hunt raccoons. And if it’s not, they might be inside playing Mario Party on a video game console.

The seniors know those weekends are numbered. They’ll graduate from Parker this week and head their separate ways this fall. They’ll get one more memorable weekend in as high-schoolers beginning Friday.

Jacobson set a new personal record with a 144-foot, 4-inch heave in the discus to win the Janesville Parker Sectional meet Friday at Monterey Stadium. Steinke followed in second place at 141-9, sending the duo to state together for a second straight year. The meet begins Friday at UW-La Crosse.

“That was exciting for the kids, and I’m very happy for them,” Parker throws coach Mike Smrekar said. “They’ve become really good friends over the course of this season. They were always kind of decent friends, but this season they’re hanging out on weekends.

“They’re both very complimentary of each other, respectful, positive. They’re working on trying to both get better. They’re both just good, solid young men.”

For Jacobson, the week felt like a roller coaster.

He considers shot put his best event, but he scratched on all three of his attempts in driving  rain at regionals Tuesday, leaving him out of the sectional meet.

“It was downpouring,” Jacobson said. “I was doing a power throw from the middle, and the shot put was wet and just came right out of my hand. I was extremely upset. But afterwards (Smrekar) told me that this is the time that true strength is shown.”

Jacobson, who will attend UW-Whitewater next year and may throw for the Warhawks, returned Friday with a now-or-never mentality. The result was a new personal best.

“We just said, things don’t always work out the way you want them to in life, but if you’re a good person, things are going to work out in the end,” Smrekar said. “It worked out for him today.

“I’m not surprised. He’s thrown farther a number of times in practice. He just needed that little extra boost.”

There was no jealousy from Steinke in losing out on the sectional title.

Steinke, who is heading to the University of South Dakota to play offensive line for the Football Championship Subdivision team, didn’t have his best day, but he’s happy to be heading back to state with his friend.

“I’m really glad for him,” Steinke said. “I know he was kind of bummed after regionals, but he PR’ed today, so that’s awesome. I’m excited to have some fun and compete (at state).

“My numbers today weren’t the best, but you can’t complain. It’s survive and advance at this point.”

Steinke took 21st in the discus at state last year. Jacobson was 18th in shot put.

They hope another year of pushing each other leads to better results.

“Every weekend we’re hanging out, whether we’re throwing or doing something else,” Jacobson said. “We’re together all the time during track and football.

“Now we’re kind of at the point in our season and in our careers … that we know what we have to do (this week). It’s kind of a mental game. You’ve got to compete against yourself when you step in the ring.

“You’ve got to clear your head and trust yourself. I’m definitely excited.”

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